Brewing Basics

Brewing Basics

So you want to start home brewing and make your own craft beer. It’s easy, here’s how you get started.

You'll need some basic equipment and ingredients:

EQUIPMENT

BASIC INGREDIENTS

  • 30L Fermenter (you will need 2)
  • Mixing Spoon
  • Hydrometer
  • Bottler
  • Transfer Hose
  • Sanitiser
  • Kettle
  • Bottles or Kegs
  • Extract Can
  • Fermentables (Dextrose, Malt, Brew Booster etc)
  • Hops (adds flavour/bitterness & Aroma).
  • Yeast
  • Water
  • Finings

 

When you are first getting started, the easiest thing to do it grab yourself a starter kit, it's got all everything you need to put down your first brew. 

RECIPES

You can recreate pretty much any beer you want.

Got a favourite, we can help you with a recipe.  We have recipe sheets for both commercial and craft beer recipes, if you are looking for something different, just ask. 

 

HOW TO BREW BEER

Step 1

Make sure your equipment is clean and sanitised and prepare your brewing space.  Sanitisation is the most important step for a great brew.

Step 2

Opening a can of beer extract to make home brew

Place 2 litres of boiling water into your sanitiser fermenter, open you can and add the contents to the fermenter.

Tip: Fill your sink or a bucket with hot water and place the can in the water for at least 10 minutes to soften up the mixture (this will make it easier to pour out). 

 Step 3

Add your fermentables – brew booster, dextrose, 50/50 Malt/ Dextrose, whatever the recipes calls for. Generally this is around 1 kilo. Some recipes also call for unhopped liquid malt extracts. Using a sanitised mixing spoon stir until it fully dissolved.

Step 4

Top up your fermenter with tap water to the 23 litre mark. Congratulations! You have just made a wort!

Making home brew - topping up the fermenter

Step 5

Check the temperature of your wort. You need it to be between 18 – 22°C. This is the recommended temperature for adding the yeast. DO NOT ADD YEAST IF YOUR WORT TEMP IS ABOVE 25°C.

Once you have your wort at the required volume and temperature, take a gravity reading with your hydrometer. Note down the reading for calculating the alcohol by volume (ABV) at the end of the ferment. This reading will be called your original gravity (OG).

Testing Original Gravity of home brew with a Hydrometer

Step 6 

Cut open the packet of yeast with sanitised scissors and sprinkle it over the top of your wort.   

Tip: Before you pitch your yeast into the wort, aerate it as much as possible by vigorously stirring, shaking the fermenter or making a good splash when adding your water. Doing this gives the yeast a head start to reproducing cells and start eating up all the sugars to produce alcohol. This is the only time oxygen is your friend in brewing. 

 Step 7

Place the lid on the fermenter along with the airlock half filled with water and place the fermenter in an area where it’s mostly dark and the temperature is constantly between 18°C and 22°C. Leave to for at least 5 days. The temperature range depends on the yeast you are using. 

Tip: To help maintain a constant temperature wrap the fermenter in a towel or blanket, you can also use a temperature controlled fermentation fridge. 

 Step 8

After a minimum of 5 days take a specific gravity reading with your hydrometer and note it down. Repeat this same step the next day. If the readings are exactly the same for 2 consecutive days and under 1.016 then it’s safe to say you can bottle your brew or keg.

 Step 9

Now that you have a steady specific gravity reading, you can transfer your beer to a 2nd fermenter and add beer finings. Not all brewers do this, but I like to as it takes the wort off the old yeast and trub (that’s the gunk at the bottom of the fermenter) and allows it to clear. Add your finings and wait another 5-7 days before bottling. 

Tip: When transferring, in order to avoid oxygenation of your wort and getting an infection, ensure your sanitised transfer hose is at the bottom of the empty fermenter and you fill your fermenter from the bottom up.

 Step 10

Rinse and clean your first fermenter and put down another beer, whilst batch A is clearing, batch B is brewing and you have a continual run of beers on the go (and you’ll never run out!).

 Step 11

Bottle in sanitised bottles, to carbonate the beer, use either white sugar or carbonation drops. If bottling, your beer will be ready in 4 weeks but best left for 3 months.

Or keg it and gas it up. 

Step 12

Congratulations you have made beer, you are a legend.

Now it’s time to drink it - enjoy!

 

REMEMBER

We’re here to help, we want you to make the best beer you can at a fraction of the price of the commercial stuff, take your time, keep everything clean and you will be fine.

It is not an exact science, sometimes things go wrong but you will get there. 

Go forth and be the King of your Craft!